Garmin Partners With Asus To Bring Out Nuvifone Smartphones

Satnav manufacturer Garmin has announced that it will team with PC manufacturer Asus to build its range of Nuvifone smartphones, more than one year after it first announced plans for such a device.

Asus has extensive experience in building smartphones and mobile phones in general, coming to the market with the J100 as early as October 2003, and will create a new smartphone division.

The new venture will offer several smartphone models in the forthcoming months and is likely to use Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Linux (LiMo) and Google's Android platforms.

A company statement detailed how Nuvifones will come preloaded with maps and data that will allow drivers to navigate around more easily, essentially an enhanced GPS.

Other interesting features include (yet another) social networking feature called Ciao! that like Yahoo's Fire Eagle, will have some strong location-based capabilities plus Panoramio, an easy way of navigating through your photos using geo-tagging.

According to Jonney Shih, chairman of Asustek, at a news conference in Taipei, the company will compete against the iPhone and The G1 Android with particular emphasis on location-based services (ed: same as Google's Latitude), something that Garmin will be keen to adopt.

The original Nüvifone was initially announced in January 2008 and it will be relaunched under the new Garmin-Asus brand before July 2009, as the G60 running on a custom Linux distro.

Asus and Garmin will also be exposing Nuvifones at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

The original delay in the release of the original Nuvifone was due to the fact that Garmin belatedly realised that it did not have enough experience to manufacture a whole range of smartphones as Garmin's Chairman, Min Kao, put it.

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Our Comments

Asus is positioning itself already and has one finger in each (significant) pie. It has a hefty OEM/ODM arm which manufactures laptops and computers for quite a few well known names. But the Taiwanese-based company is also making headways with the EEE PC netbook range and now with Location-based smartphones.

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